I’m going to be honest with you*, I gave Hubby a hard time over spending only two nights in Waikiki.
*Because that’s how I roll.
I guess first I need to explain how the planning of this trip went. Hubby took charge of everything, literally e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, with one exception. At the end of our trip, we wanted to get tattoos. I was awarded the responsibility of finding the tattoo parlor, the artists, and booking the appointments. I gave a little input of some things I’d researched (restaurants, museums, etc.), but he booked the hotels, scheduled the flights, and picked which islands we stopped in.
So when it came time to board another plane* to Maui, part of me wanted to stay in the lively city scene of Waikiki.** He reminded me this was only the start of our Hawaiian adventures and that we would be back in Honolulu at the end of the trip.***
*We’d already flown from NJ to CA, CA to Honolulu, and now were readying for our third of six total flights in this trip.
**Even though Waikiki beach looked a lot like a Jersey beach by way of the amount of people who were crammed on it, I loved the proximity of clear, warm water to the hustle and bustle of a shopping district.
***One of the most difficult things in traveling, I find, is being able to find the perfect balance in seeing as much as possible while also appreciating each experience to its fullest.
A man at the airport told us not to be too surprised if we ended up extending our trip to Maui. He said he’s seen it hundreds of times. People fall in love with the landscapes, pulling their cars over every few minutes to catch another snapshot of paradise, and then they decide they simply cannot go home.
He was right. If I wasn’t such a city lover*, I would be completely sold on Maui as our future home. As we drove to our Home Away in our very touristy Jeep rental**, to my right were lush mountain ranges and pillowy clouds, while on my left the ocean beckoned.
*Hubby, on the other hand, is ready to move to Maui tomorrow.
**It wasn’t hard to spot tourists considering the car rentals, for the most part, were either white Jeeps or Mustangs.
As we drove through Maui, the most mind boggling thing we began to discover was the openness and freedom of the beaches in Hawaii. Free beaches in New Jersey are few and far between*, and here every few miles we reached another public beach with open parking, picnic tables, and sparkling sand.
*With some charging as much as $9 per person on the weekends. Nine dollars! To go to the beach** for one day!
**And, let’s be real people, a dirty beach.
This was the view from the balcony of our Home Away condo. It was unreal to be able to look out and see another island, and then on other days not be able to see it at all due to the fog.
Yes, of course, we found winning bakeries on the island…
And enjoyed our treats like this.
We went to our first luau in Maui. Old Lahaina Luau knows how to throw a party. There was a pig roast (of course), all-inclusive drinks, pre-luau festivities*, and an entertaining, while also educational, show.
*Including games which I pulled Hubby over to. While standing in line behind three couples in matching Hawaiian gear**, I asked him if he wanted to play this Hawaiian bowling game. His answer? “I don’t know if we’re allowed to, we’re not wearing matching Hawaiian shirts.” Ah, Jersey sarcasm at its best.***
**See Our Hawaii Travels: Part One.
***And yes, he did receive a glare from one of the females in front of us.
The sun setting on the luau
Luau guests were given the most amazing banana bread I have ever eaten to take home. Here’s how good it was, it didn’t even have chocolate chips* in it and I ate the entire thing.
*I add chocolate chips to pretty much anything teetering on the healthy side. Banana bread? Add chocolate chips. Oatmeal cookies? Add chocolate chips. Pecan blondies? Add chocolate chips. When in doubt: Add. Chocolate. Chips.
We naturally had to find the bakery which produced this magical bread. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop makes much more than banana bread, which we soon discovered. We ordered a slew of things, including hand pies.
The most perfect hand pies of our lives. My favorite was the apple. The glaze on the outside was something not too often done with hand pies, and it made them even more wonderful.
While in Maui, we played golf…
Snorkeled with turtles…
Avoided sea urchins at all costs…*
Found a car axle in the bottom of the ocean…
Can you see it? Check the sand.
Worked on our Go Pro selfie taking abilities…
Accidentally swam with a school of fish…
I’m not quite sure how that one happened. I was calmly heading to the shore when all of a sudden I was surrounded by fish. The pictures that followed this one include me laying on my back laughing hysterically.
After a few fulls days of activity, we visited a winery* and then decided to take a little peek** at the Road to Hana.
*Maui Wine. They make a pineapple wine which is divine.
**This might not seem the correct word to use when describing a journey which is three hours one way, but we weren’t totally committed to completing the entire journey. We just wanted a taste of it.
Oh, and that’s how we started the Road to Hana, by stopping off for lunch at Mama’s Fish House, rated #1 for food among Maui restaurants.
Unsure of what the Road to Hana entailed, we downloaded the ‘GyPSy Guide Road to Hana tour’ app. If you’re looking into a trip to Maui and the Road to Hana is on your To Do list, I highly recommend this app. The guide talks you through every mile, lets you know when you really want to stop for pictures and what areas you’ll want to avoid.
With 620 curves and 59 bridges, driving the Road to Hana is not for the faint of heart.
And that’s why Lance drove.
We hadn’t driven very long when our guide told us the Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden which we would soon be approaching offered a view of Keopuka Rock, better known to us as the first view of Jurassic Park in the movie.
Because Jurassic Park was a major part of my childhood*, we had to stop.
*I’m not sure if the final number is out there, but I think my older brother, Justin, and I went with our dad to see it in theaters around seven or eight times. We even went when it was in the dollar theater, that’s how much we loved it.
The app not only directed us, but gave us historical information. We pulled off into an area which had been destroyed by lava, with the church being the only remaining structure.
We made it almost to the end of the Road to Hana (we were about thirty minutes shy) when we decided to turn around. It was starting to rain a little and growing dark, a combination I didn’t want to endure the entire three-hour ride back.
On the ride back, the app told the history of Hawaii which entertained us along the curves and bridges.
If I thought leaving Waikiki had been difficult, leaving Maui was worse.
Look close and you’ll see what I’m calling our Goodbye Rainbow
Aside from the beaches and the beauty of the island, one of my favorite things in Maui was laying out at night under the stars. We counted fifteen shooting stars in the matter of an hour, something you certainly cannot do in New Jersey.